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Archive for May, 2011

Graduating

So like I mentioned earlier, I was in Virginia last week for my little sister’s graduation. Really, it was a whirlwind of a trip as I managed to squeeze in my college roommate and friend & aunt and uncle in D.C. in addition to going down to Charlottesville.

It was a little crazy to watch my sister graduate. I remember when I left for JVC, she had just finished her first year at UVA. I felt a little guilty about moving across the country for a year, but I remember thinking that when I came back, she’d still have 2 years of school left so it’s not like it was really that long. Turns out life plans changed (don’t they always?) and I’m still living out west. Wild, wild west.

My sis is the only one of us to go to UVA. My older sister and I went to William and Mary. Of course there was a bit of sisterly drama – I had wanted to go to W&M since I was 8 (although around 10th grade I became a hardcore Notre Dame fan until they wait listed me. Jerks.) I was pre-empted. UVA is the unofficial rivalry of W&M. Though, to be honest, people at UVA don’t think there is much of a rivalry. On the other hand, people at UVA really like to talk about how they don’t have a rivalry with W&M. Kinda like when your friend says she really doesn’t care if you date her ex. Yeah right. But give us W&M kids a break – we just want someone to  be rivals with! No one will play with us. Anyway – we were all really proud of her from graduating from such a fine school (founded by Thomas Jefferson, don’t cha know. And since this post is about my sister’s school, I won’t even mention that he went to William and Mary.)

Little known fact about me – I broke up with my ex of four years the night before graduation. All those black robes brought back some bad memories. I had mono at my high school graduation, so that wasn’t that fun either. Plus I had to give a salutatorian speech which I didn’t ask anyone to edit beforehand, and it bombed hardcore.

So I’m hoping that next year (and I’m just hoping it is next year) when I graduate from grad school the pomp and circumstance will be a little more enjoyable. Though I don’t really care about graduating from grad school as much. It just isn’t the same life-turning point that high school and college are.

But nevertheless, it will bring some new and exciting changes, and hopefully my first full-time full salaried job since college.

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Recovery

I’m not as young as I once was, and my poor little bladder can’t take much traveling. (Well, age has nothing to do with that, but I think I have the bladder of someone 3x my age). After a week of being bounced around, beaten, abused, neglected, and fed less than great food, it likes to punch back.

So this week I am declaring National Bladder Care Week. This here is my plan:

1) Drink lots of water – 8 classes or whatever it is. Okay, let’s make this 2 water bottles and I”ll make up the rest with tea.

2) A cup of camomile a day.

3) 3 full sessions of yoga, plus my physical therapy, and my short night/morning routines.

4) Go for a few long walks.

5) Eat only homemade foods, including lots of fruits and veggies.

6) Buy more fish oil supplements

7) Don’t wear jeans

8) Remember to take my medicine 2x daily with meals

I”ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better by the end of the week!

What do you do to recover after traveling?

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I’m Back

Apparently if you go a week without posting, people don’t really read your blog anymore.

In the last week and a half, I have gone from Montana to D.C. to Virginia and back, slept in 6 different houses, attended my sister’s graduation, saw some elephants and zebras, attended a 50th anniversary of priesthood celebration, and woke up to snowfall this morning.

I’m tired.

But I got a 4.0 this semester.

BOO-YAH!

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Flight Delayed

So, I’ve been out of town. Out of the time zone really. Back in Ol’ Virginny. But that’s a story for a different day. Right now, I would like to tell you about how I got back from Virginia.

So I decided to take a shuttle from my sister’s house in D. C. to Dulles airport in Virginia. The shuttle pulls up, I jump in, and put my suitcase between my legs. The driver looks at me like I’m nuts.

“Um, I usually pu tthose in the back, but uh, okay that works too.”

I feel like an idiot. And so I text my friend who grew up nearby and now lives in the big city (known as the District by those cool enough to live here.) She says she did that the first time she took the shuttle too. Too used to the bus.

Luckily (or unfortunately?) I make it to the airport. Have I mentioned it is 5pm and high time for rush hour traffic?

I check in. “Your flight has been delayed 45 minutes.”

No problem.

Wait a minute…is this a problem? I have a layover in Minneapolis – will I miss my flight out of there? I decide to ask someone at the desk.

“Oh there’s no way you are making it to Montana. The flight is delayed 3 hours now. It will land an hour after your flight takes off. We can rebook you for tomorrow”

Hmm…to be  stuck in Minneapolis or D.C.? I call a friend who lives in Minneapolis. No answer. I decide to rebook.

Now this is where it gets good.

Me: “Do you have anything else to Missoula tonight?”

Ticket person: “Where?”

Me: “Missoula.”

Her: “No.”

Me: “What about Butte? That would work too.”

Her: “Where’s Butte?”

Me: “Butte, Montana.” (AKA Butte, America for those in the know.)

Her: “Do you know the airport code?”

Me: “No.”

Her: “I don’t think we have any flights there. I will rebook you for tomorrow.”

Me: “Okay, fine. Can I get a hotel voucher?” (worth a shot, right?)

Her: “No. Do you live in the area?”

Me: “No, I live in Monana.”

Her: “Where’s Montana?” (starts typing).

Me: “What? It’s a state, not a town.”

Her: “Do you know the airport code for Montana?”

Me: “What?? No! It’s a state! I’m trying to get to a town in Montana!”

Her: “What’s it near?”

Me: “What?”

Her: “What is Montana close to?”

Me: “What is it close to? I don’t know…South Dakota?”

Her: “Hmm.” (Turns to other ticket lady). “Do you know the airport code for Montana?’

Lady 2: “I think it’s HLN.”

Me: “No!! That’s Helena! I’m trying to get to Butte or Missoula! They are towns IN Montana! It’s a STATE!”

Her: “I don’t think we have any flights to Montana. I’ll rebook you for tomorrow.”

(Facepalm).

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What’s a wedding without some dancing? John and I shared our first dance to The Avett Brother’s January Wedding. So maybe we didn’t get married in January. Still a good song.

The sun started to set, and it was time for the Father-Daughter dance. We danced to a “My Little Girl” by Pierce Pettis. We heard him play at a a neighborhood block party a few years ago. You can hear it here, though it doesn’t start until 1:50 so just fast forward a bit.

John and his mom shared the floor with us.

Next up it was time for the “Dollar Dance.” Best I can gather, it’s a west coast/mid-west tradition where people pay $1 to dance with the bride. I had never heard of it before, but John was pretty set on it. So the DJ announced it, most’ve the guest stood around confused for a bit, ran back to their cars to get a $1 and came back. I refused to do it alone, so I forced John on the dance floor with me. It turned out to be pretty fun actually. And may I just say, his line was significantly longer than mine. Like, we’re talking 5x as long.

The maids of honor and best man kept tabs of the cash. And took a little tip for themselves, I bet.

Now it was just time to let loose.

Greatest picture ever, am I right? My cousin air-guitaring with a groomsman.

One thing  I really liked about our photographer is that he did a great job with the reception pictures. I feel like he really captured the mood of it all. So my advice to brides – don’t just look at their bridal party pictures, but the whole shebang.

My grandparents won the anniversary dance, narrowly nudging out John’s grandparents. 55 years this March!

Notice something about these dancing pictures? John and I really aren’t in them. We didn’t dance all that much during our reception. Okay, John says we did, but that’s coming from someone who does not dance all that often (read: ever)! I think I felt awkward that every time I got on the dance floor a circle would form around me.

So what were we doing instead?

Ate pie.

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7 blogs to check out

Maybe you guys have heard of these already. Maybe you haven’t. But I wanted to share a little of what I’ve been reading lately!

1. House Unseen

This family bought a house off the internet for $27,000 and have been flipping. Their stories are hilarious and inspirational. I’ve been trying to convince John we should do the same, however, even $27k is out of our price range right now.

2. Glacier County Honey

My Montanan life pails in comparison to this couple living up North, just east of Glacier Park. If you like seeing feet of snow well into spring, you would like this blog. Plus John and I have a large, lovely, and delicious bottle of their honey. So good.

3. Granola Catholic

A new blog on line drying laundry and faith. I love her posts, especially the beautiful pictures!

4. Unequally Yoked

I just stumbled on this blog recently, but I find it really interesting. It is about a woman who is an atheist and dating a good Catholic boy. It’s very thought provoking and a good place for debate and new ideas.

5. The Bobby Pin

I just think this girl is adorable. She is doing a series of posts on “What is Beautiful?” which you should check out.

6. That Wife Blog

I read this blog almost daily. The author is a Mormon (Latter-day Saint) and has some really informative and (often argument provoking!) posts about her faith. And life as well. Plus her pictures are awesome.

7. Open Those Ojos

Another blog about faith (can you tell that’s what I’ve been reading about lately? I go through phases – sometimes all frugal blogs, other times all green-living ones). I love the author’s post – simple and always a fresh perspective.

Hopefully that gives you some new reading to check out! Enjoy!

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So I finally got around to watching the No Impact Man documentary.

The documentary follows the life of a man whose goal it is to make “no net impact on the earth” for a year. He and his family (well, really his family does just as much, but it’s called the no impact “man” which I’d be a little peeved about if I was his wife) go without TV, non-locally grown food, toilet paper, trash, and six months in electricity to see if it is possible to live in a completely green way.

I had heard fantabulous reviews, but to be honest, I was a little disappointed. You know when you get invited over to someone’s house for dinner, and the couple starts arguing about who was supposed to pick up the milk on the way home, and you are awkwardly trying to pretend like you are really interested in their wall calendar and can’t hear what they are saying?

That’s kind of what watching this movie is like. The couple gets into a lot of awkward arguments about why are they doing this, why she has to play along, if they should have a second kid, etc. I’m sure it’s very “real” but I ended up just feeling like an unwilling voyeur.

Another problem I had was that the documentary was not very educational. I think I was expecting a movie version of Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma which artfully combines personal experience with real world information. This movie, on the other hand, solely focuses on the personal experiences of the family, with the no-impact-man himself spouting out a few claims here and there about why recycling was bad.

It also gave me flashbacks to the early days of JVC when we were trying to decide just how “green” we should be.

On the other hand, it is interesting to watch someone actually talk about the things most of us just read about doing. It didn’t leave me feeling very inspired but it was worth a watch. It would’ve been a great knit-through movie, but my fingers have blisters all over them from trying to fix my Chaco straps. And that’s about as hippie as I’m gonna get today.

Check it out if it interests you, but if not, that’s fine too.

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Every time it’s the same thing.

“Oh is that your natural hair color?”

Yes. I have freckles and red eyebrows. Of course it is.

“Women would kill for that color.”

No they wouldn’t.

“Your hair is so healthy.”

Yes, because I hardly ever blow dry it and don’t wash it every single day. So that’s why it looks like crap. But at least it’s healthy.

“This product will bring out your natural curl.”

Do you see my hair? It’s not naturally curly. It’s naturally uncooperative. I have waves which barely count as curls. There is no point to encourage them. We must work to abolish them. Bad curls!

“So what do you think?”

Well, it’s still half wet and you put so much product in it that I can’t even get my fingers through it. I think that I want to go home and shower.

“Do you like the length?”

Um, no. It’s too short. But there’s nothing you can do about it now.

grumble grumble grumble.

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Remember my water bottle dilemma? My over-thinking is back, but this time with shoes.

(Update on the water bottle dilemma: I did get a new klean kanteen, I’ve been using my old sigg as a night stand caraffe, cause I figure a couple sips of bpa-laden water at night won’t kill me, one bottle has been turned into an car emergency kit, one has gone to Goodwill, and I will see my sister next week to return her bottle.)

I have a pair of Sperry loafers which I absolutely love. They are so comfortable, easy to slip on, look half-way decent with anything.

Mine don’t quite look like that anymore, and multiple comments from friends and family have led me to believe that my beloved Sperrys are past their prime. They’ve survived a good four (five? I forget), three states, and many adventures. Unfortunately, they look like they have too. So before people start refusing to be seen with me in public while wearing them, I’ve decided it’s time to look for a new summer slip on shoe.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be relinquishing my Sperrys. In fact, even just writing this makes me want to buy another pair. But they ain’t cheap. So, I’ve had my eye on another shoe recently.

TOMS shoes, in fact.

They are about half the price of Sperrys, and reviews from my sister ensure me that they are also super comfortable and durable (though I’ve heard mixed reviews from people on the latter front.

So here we have pros: 1) Have zoo animals on the inside, 2) comfortable, 3) cheaper than Sperrys, 4) slip ons that maybe you should, but don’t have to, wear socks with, 5) TOMS donates one pair of shoes for every one sold to children in disadvantaged countries.

Cons: 1) I hate buying stuff, 2) questionable attractiveness, 3) I would be inching ever closer to hipster-dom, 4) They aren’t free (though what is?) 5) TOMS donates one pair of shoes for every one sold to children in disadvantaged countries.

Wait what??? # 5 is is a pro AND a con? How can  that be?

I have this ongoing debate with international aid, be it medical aid, food aid, or shoe aid. Is it helping or is it really hurting?

In my little anthropological circle, people tend to be big fans of talking about how international aid actually hurts developing countries. One example is of how USAid rice shipped to Haiti not only has put local rice farmers out of business, but is also a contributor to diabetes. Some suggest that foreign aid is really a more modern form of colonialism, giving money, exerting control over how it is spent, and promoting reliance on the developed country.

I get all this, but truthfully, I just don’t like it.

It’s like that little parable about how one day all these babies started floating down a river in baskets (like Moses.) The whole town came out to fish babies out of the river. But no one ever suggested going upstream to see where these babies were coming from in the first place.

My problem with this is – if everyone goes to help stop the flow of babies (yeah weird, I didn’t come up with it), then a bunch of babies are gonna get lost in the meantime. I feel the same way about aid. If we decide to take a hands off approach, let countries develop their own economies, then a lot of people are gonna suffer in the meantime.

So buying a pair of TOMS, and then sending a pair to a child in a developing country would mean that the local shoe market might be damaged. If that kiddo doesn’t get a pair of shoes, they might not buy one from that local shoemaker, and go without, thereby increasing their chances of injury or catching an infectious disease.

Maybe a hands-off approach would help economies develop without being artificially propped up, but on the other hand, many countries are in their situation in the first place due to the economic and political policies of western countries.

Do we owe it to developed countries to help make things right? Or should we just stop getting involved? I don’t know. I’m still conflicted, but buying a pair of shoes from any other company wouldn’t do much good either. I’m gonna end up buying a new pair of shoes from some where, so hopefully this will be the lesser of evils. (The other evil be the profits just go to some greedy corporation who is making shoes in a sweatshop).  I’ll probably buy the shoes, and pray that they help a kid out.

What are your feelings on international aid? Do you have a pair of TOMS? What do you think of them?

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A Day Off

Exams are done. Draft #107 of my thesis proposal is done. IRB applications aren’t due for another few weeks.

Summer is here!!

(Okay, it’s spring. Summer is a ways off. But its summer vacation at least.)

I’m much less excited about this summer vacation than one’s previous, which is odd since it’s been 2 years since I had one. I think it’s because my “job” for the summer will be doing research. So no real change of pace, but more flexibility. I’m hoping I’ll get a decent amount accomplished this summer as well get back on my feet health-wise.

So how do I celebrate le-fin-de-semestre? Picking up two 12 hour shifts at the shelter.

Well, that was the plan anyway. John, being the good guy he is, offered to drive me to work at 7am. I show up to hear my boss go, “What are you doing here?”

Me: “Um, working…”

Boss: “Oh, I thought you couldn’t work because you didn’t want to compromise your research. We were going to find someone to cover for you.”

Me: “Yeah, but I didn’t think you were able to?”

Boss: “No, we weren’t, so I was just going to work overtime. But if you’re here that’s great! I’ll stick around for another hour anyway.”

(twenty minutes later)

Coworker whose shift I was covering shows up.

Boss: “What are you doing here?”

Coworker: “Um, working…”

Boss: “You requested the weekend off.”

Coworker: “No I didn’t. I requested next weekend off.”

Me: “Um…so you don’t need me here…right?”

(I call John for a ride home, hoping he hasn’t gone back to sleep yet).

Sleepy John: “Hey what’s up?”

Me: “Can you come get me?”

(explain situation)

Him: “Sure.”

(ten minutes later)

Me: (ring, ring, ring) “Hey John…I’m on the corner of Main and Front.”

Him: “Hello? (yawn) No, I didn’t go back to sleep. I was just resting my eyes…”

Ah. So as it turns out, I have the weekend off. How bout that?

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